How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Is the root canal located on a front tooth?
- Is there only a small cavity or filling on the tooth?
- Was the root canal performed very conservatively and left most of the tooth intact?
- You are NOT a heavy grinder?
- You don’t have too many crowns on your teeth already?
- You are under 60?
If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, then you may be able to pass up on the crown, at your own risk. Not only does the tooth have to qualify for not needing the crown, but you also need to make sure you are not a heavy grinder, don’t have too many crowns, or are not too old where teeth are weaker and fragile and break much easier.
If you answered “no” to the any questions then unfortunately you will require the crown. A crown may be expensive, but losing the tooth and needing a dental implant is way more expensive and much more difficult to do.
Root canal treatments are quite costly and time consuming on their own, but without getting a crown you risk losing the tooth. Once the root canal has been performed the majority of the tooth structure above the gumlines is removed. As a result the tooth will become very weak and undermined. Without a crown on the tooth is likely to fracture or break, and should this happen you could be in trouble Sometimes the crown will fix the problem but most of the times the tooth will not be salvageable any longer and must be removed. Thus not getting the crown done on time could result in losing the tooth and the need for a dental implant, which is much more work and expenses than the crown would’ve been otherwise.
If the root canal is costing you too much, then you might have to wait to receive the crown a little later once you have the cash for it. Waiting for a few weeks is typically okay but after a few months the tooth begins to chip and crack and you must get the crown now or risk losing the tooth. Don’t postpone it for too long or you will end up losing the tooth after all and you paid for a root canal in vain!
helpful hint – If you need to wait for the crown consider talking to ask your dentist about at least placing the post or the permanent filling in the tooth. This makes the tooth much sturdier and reduces the chances of it fracturing as you wait for your crown. Also ask your dentist to drop the tooth out of bite. Not chewing on the tooth reduces the force exerted on it and decreases the likelihood of it breaking. Doing these two things should buy you some time to allow you to come up with the necessary funds required for the crown.
NEXT >> Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of Placing a Crown
Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of NOT Placing a Crown
1. In rare occasions a root canal won’t require a crown. This only applies when three things occur.
- It’s a front tooth
- The cavity or fracture is very small
- Once the root canal is performed you still have the majority of your tooth struture intact
This only works on front tooth because they have only one nerve and the dentist or endodontist can make a very small access hole to do the root canal. This will also leave plenty of tooth structure intact. You may pass up on placing a crown on the tooth in these cases, at your own risk of course. Again, this only applies if very little tooth structure has been removed, so if there is a large cavity or a large existing filling in place then you will still require the crown.
helpful hint – The back teeth almost always require a crown after the root canal. Back teeth usually have multiple nerves and the dentist will have to create a large access hole to perform the root canal. As a result you will require a root canal. Additionally, since you chew on the back teeth, these will take the blunt of your chewing pressure and you run the risk of cracking them without a crown in place.
2. Doubling your expenses and number of appointments. Crowns are expensive and typically cost about the same or more than the root canal itself. And often times they also require a post in order to help hold the filling in place which further adds to the costs. And it takes several additional visits to perform a crown as well.
3. Your crown may have to be replaced in the future. A well done root canal will generally last you a lifetime. A crown on the other hand may require replacement over time should something go wrong with it. Crowns are made of porcelain or similar material and once they break it automatically results in a do over since crowns can not be repaired inside the mouth. Or your crown may fit well now but as you lose gum tissue around the tooth over the years, you may be forced to replace the crown as it is now trapping food, looking unattractive or no longer providing a proper seal around the tooth.
NEXT >> How to Decide
Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of Placing a Crown
How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Does the tooth have a root canal?
- Has it only been a few hours or days since you have received the new crown?
- Do you have only mild low grade pain on your crown? “no” means the pain is moderate to severe.
- Does it hurt only for short spurts of a few seconds or minutes at most? “no” means the pain lingers for fifteen minutes or more.
- Does your bite feel even? Meaning that when you bite the crown touches pretty much in line with the other teeth.
- Can you floss the tooth comfortably?
- You haven’t had the need to resort to pain killers just yet? “no” means you have needed pain killers.
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you are probably okay and should wait to see if the pain improves over the next few days. As long as the pain is improving you can try to hold off and see if it vanishes altogether.
If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you probably need to go and see your dentist. You may need something as simple as a bite adjustment, a new crown, a root canal or even possibly losing the tooth. The sooner you go back to your dentist, the better the outcome. Experiencing minor pain and sensitivity can be normal but if the pain is severe, lingering and throbbing in nature, then there is definitely some sort of nerve involvement it will require a root canal treatment.
We prefer that you give a new crown about a few days, up to a week, to see if you notice any improvements before going back to the dentist for further evaluation. You must realize that once a crown has been cemented in place it can not be simply removed and is most likely stuck in there for good. Make sure to pay careful attention during the crown fitting appointment to ensure that you are happy with the color and looks as well as fit and the bite of the crown as it gets much more difficult to do anything once the work has been completed and the crown has been cemented in place. Certain simple adjustments can still be done inside the mouth, such as adjusting the bite or polishing the crown. But most other adjustments can not be done without redoing the entire crown. If your pain and discomfort is minor then focus on cleaning the region and maintain a soft food diet to allow some additional time to see if the symptoms improve or not.
NEXT >> What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Crown: Go Back to the Dentist
What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Crown: Wait a Little Bit